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Old 08-07-2008, 12:22 PM   #1
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Hi - we're just starting to plan a cross-country trip next year - San Francisco to Virginia and back. We have a few places we definitely will stop each direction to see family and friends, but also have long stretches where we don't have must-stop places but want to cover pretty fast. For example, our first leg would be San Francisco to Indianapolis, Indiana, 2200 miles.

I've checked the usual trip-planning sites such as MapQuest, Google and AAA. None of them seem to be able to suggest stops every, say, 400 miles. Does such a thing exist? It seems that I need to tell the site exactly where I want to break each day by city and state. Maybe I'm being too lazy and should sit down with an atlas and pick those spots but it seems it would be easier if the software could at least suggest breaks.

Thanks for any thoughts, including that I'm being lazy!
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:22 PM   #2
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Hi - we're just starting to plan a cross-country trip next year - San Francisco to Virginia and back. We have a few places we definitely will stop each direction to see family and friends, but also have long stretches where we don't have must-stop places but want to cover pretty fast. For example, our first leg would be San Francisco to Indianapolis, Indiana, 2200 miles.

I've checked the usual trip-planning sites such as MapQuest, Google and AAA. None of them seem to be able to suggest stops every, say, 400 miles. Does such a thing exist? It seems that I need to tell the site exactly where I want to break each day by city and state. Maybe I'm being too lazy and should sit down with an atlas and pick those spots but it seems it would be easier if the software could at least suggest breaks.

Thanks for any thoughts, including that I'm being lazy!
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:55 PM   #3
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You're right. Nothing beats using a Motor Carrier's Road Atlas and a few cups of coffee while calculating where you will overnight. I plan 300 + miles a day when traveling. Using the map and TL/Woodall's camping directories to find CG's that distance from my present location, I can pre-plan my route and over-night stops in a few hours at most.(If I stick to coffee).
Some GPS software has the capabilities you desire, but I'm not knowledgeable of details.
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Old 08-07-2008, 02:07 PM   #4
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Hi Bruce, after fulltiming for 6 years our experience is you can't plan a long distance trip down to each and every stop ahead of time. Too many variables when your traveling. Some days you might make 300 to 400 miles, and some days it might be a lot less. Factors such as weather and road constuction can dictate how far you get each day, or you might find something interesting and want to stay somewhere an extra day. We've found the best way is to get a good campground book and when you decide you want to stop for the night start looking for places in the area. Most places will have availability if you start looking by 3 or so in the afternoon. A rigid schedule and the Rv'ing lifestyle don't really go together. Be flexible and enjoy life on the road.
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Old 08-07-2008, 02:13 PM   #5
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I really like DeLorme. I use to used it on a laptop and their EarthMate, but a little GPS on my side window is easier.
I always plan the whole trip on the laptop and then set the little GPS up for the day.
But anyway planing by miles or hours is easy with the DeLorme Street Atlas.
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Old 08-07-2008, 02:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick replies, Ray, Kent (or Sharon?) and Ed. Kent, I think your comment is right on point - we're new and have just been doing weekend trips within an hour or two of home. For one night or two nights we can pre-plan things. This would be our first really long-distance trip, but we still need to fit it in to our working schedule. Can't wait to retire and full-time like you folks - only 19 years, two months and fifteen days to go. But who's counting?

We may just fly for this trip but wanted to sketch out what would be involved in using the motorhome. Ray, I'll brew some coffee and think of you while I flip through the atlas!

Ed - we'll check out the Delorme software.
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:47 PM   #7
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Bruce,

How much time do you have for this trip? This does not sound like the normal 2 week vacation. Don't forget, you want to see more than just highway. I use the "how far do I want to travel today" method. Pick out where you want to land and call ahead. I like to have my next reservation made before I leave the one I have.
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:22 AM   #8
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Jim - we were planning two weeks. We need to be in Williamsburg, VA on a Saturday for a reunion next May. Were going to leave on the Saturday prior and take six days cross-country, and six days back. We both enjoy road trips in a car so thought a long road trip in the motorhome would be even better. However, this may be more of a burden than a pleasure so might just plan to fly back and forth for the reunion and save our vacaction days for camping trips here in the West.

Thanks for the reality check, everyone!
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:18 PM   #9
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Another option is Microsoft Streets and Trips. In conjunction with a good paper map it is a useful tool to plan a trip or revise a trip. You can set up preferences such as speed, rest stops, number of miles and how many hours. If you want to make a change at some point of the route it will allow you to do that. It is software based so it may not be what you are looking for. Good trip planning tool though.

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Old 08-08-2008, 02:57 PM   #10
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I use Microsoft Streets and trips also, even have their GPS receiver for when on the road. When planning a trip, under "more Options" you can tell it that you want to stop for "x" minutes every "x" hours and minutes. You can also tell it what time you want to start the day and what time you want to end the day, along with up to two hours buffer. It will then figure out where you need to stop for the night.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:14 PM   #11
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Bruce,

I have seen the day that I would think a trip like that would be fun. My brain tells me that it is still so. But it's bad about writing checks my body can no longer cash. My butt & bladder tell me - it ain't gonna happen.

As I understand it, here's what you planning. San Francisco, CA, to Williamsburg, VA via Indianapolis, IN. 3,000 miles each way for a total of 6,000 miles. 6 days on the road each way for an average of 500 miles per day. For 500 miles you must average 60 mph for 8 1/2 hours. With fuel stops and any other breaks you looking at probably 10 hour days minimum for 6 straight days. To average 60 mph you must drive 70+. Assuming (you probably can figure closer than this) 8 mpg and $3.60 a gallon gas, your going to burn $2,700 in fuel. Of course, if 2 of you share the driving and make 800 miles a day for the first 3 days, you can do the last 3 in 200 mile increments and do a little visiting.

Sounds like a fun trip to me. Wish I could do it with you. It has all the potential of making one of those "you ain't goina believe what we did" memories that will last a life time. Drive carefully, drive safely.
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:24 PM   #12
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OK, Jim, you had me laughing with your math. Of course you're right, we're going to make this cross-country trip the old fashioned way, by plane. It's not about the money. I just don't want to turn what should be a pleasure into a chore. We'll save the motorhome for trips closer to home where we can take our time and enjoy the voyage without stressing out.

Thanks all for your thoughts. We'll still check out DeLorme and Microsoft software for planning purposes.
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:41 PM   #13
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I frequently use Delorme Map & Go. It is OK but not very good for planning stops. I tried Street Maps but not a big fan of it. I just purchased Trailer Life Directory Campground Navigator 2008. I am still playing with it. I setup my profile to tell it how fast I drive, how far I want to drive in a day and how often (and long) I plan to take breaks. It then shows me where each stop will be and at an end of day stop I can ask where local CG's are. Like I said, I'm still evaluating it for myself. One thing I have not figured out (or maybe it cannot do) is put the day I want to arrive and have it work backwards. One thing I do like (as a fulltimer) is that I can indicate the Start and End locations by searcing and picking CG's.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:05 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">OK, Jim, you had me laughing with your math </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
My math teacher used to do that also.

Enjoy your reunion and enjoy your motorhome, even if they never meet.
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